GIS Urban Panning

Geospatial technology is used in multiple disciplines and it is proven to be an aesthetic tool for urban planning in last few years. Planning is systematic sequence of actions for doing or achieving a goal. Planning is evolved in ancient time, the oldest Harappa and Mohen Jo Daro in India, when excavated, evidences of planning were revealed and When we are dealing with urban planning, it is all about spatial aspects. Responsible and successful Urban Planning is necessary for revitalization of existing parts of the city and for the development of open land.

The planning can be broadly classified into three levels considering the resolution, those are Macro level, Meso Level and Micro level for low, medium and high resolution respectively. Scale is always an important parameter. Macro level urban planning will be regional and will give us the perspective of the plan. Foe district level we can rely on medium resolution data and is categorized under Meso level. To get precise results for a small region and concept driven approach we have to use data with higher resolution and it is micro level planning.

RS and GIS in urban planning is efficacious and its only aim is to achieve maximum degree of economy, convenience and beauty. On a broad scale we can do urban sprawl analysis, urban land use pattern analysis, transportation network like highways and railways, Preparation of city guide maps at medium resolution between 1:25000 to 1:50000 resolution. Also, Slum typology can be examined. These analysis can be performed at all the levels with different resolutions as per the need.

GIS data

GIS appears to be useful urban landuse/land cover mapping, even for a small town or a village. The data generated will be authentic and reliable which will help decision makers and investors. Environmental monitoring is needful when it comes to Urban Planning. Pollution is major issue for 2 tier and metro cities. Another major problem is encroachment, GIS and RS can solve issues with very small magnitude.

Aspects of Urban Planning

Physical: Built Environment

Social: Man’s Inter relationship and Behavior; Social Impact assessment

Economic: Financial Environment; Making policies for investors

Management: Natural Resource management

Other Applications of GIS in Urban Planning

The concept of layer mechanism and superimposition of various layers to prepare a model makes it reliable and to accomplish the demands of policy makers and urban planners, this acts as panacea. Transportation, trade, education, tourism, pollution, food, water, sewage treatment,

  • Digitization of planning basemaps is the initial step in the planning
  • GIS facilitate updating of basemaps
  • Superimposing or overlaying of any two digital maps which are on same different scales is feasible.
  • Revenue maps on basemaps with reasonable accuracy can be superimposed will be a great advantage compared to manually done jobs.
  • Refurbishing and monitoring using repetitive coverage
  • Urban morphology, population estimation study
  • Land Use survey in the city and change detection
  • Slum detection, monitoring and refurbishing
  • Transportation system study and it’s important aspects both in static and dynamic mode
  • Site suitability and catchments area analysis
  • Study and monitoring of open/vacant space
  • Regional potential and viability analyses.
  • Alternate plans are generated by making flexible design, optimization and evaluation tools
  • Zoning, subdivision planning
  • Environmental impact assessment includes pollution analysis and control
  • sewage site selection: taking all the guidelines into consideration, a suitable site can be selected foe sewage treatment
  • Health care and management

Another very important use of GIS is in planning of installation of communication cables in urban areas. Planners are taking help of GIS tools and other geospatial softwares. Also, open source web development tools are useful for this. GIS tools play very important role in this and is a tedious job though very effective.

GIS in urban planning


  • Land acquisition: The acquisition of private land by the government, state or central for the purpose of industrialization or any GIS can be used for the assessment of land and property.
  • Economic development: To make informed decisions about where to locate new businesses or grow existing ones, economic developers need effective decision-making tools that help them conduct analysis. To display and disseminate results, GIS tools can provide the necessary platform for visualization, modeling, analysis and collaboration.
  • Housing renovation programs: Society planners can implement geo-spatial analysis in renovating housing and surroundings.
  • Emergency response: GIS integration into disaster management is beneficial for prediction which can help in planning evacuation and minimizes the effect of destruction
  • Crime analysis: Mapping the crime pattern and cluster
  • Tax assessment: Property tax assessment for commercial and non-commercial buildings and apartments. This has reduced the human involvement and property frauds and increasing transparency in the system.

In terms of time, distance, relevance, safety spatial analysis is always better than traditional practices. Documentation of spatial plans and in the approval process for the development, building and installation permit policy makers and economists can rely on GIS data. Land management and land use planning issues including the interpretation and formulation of land use policy and be easily done be policy makers with the involvement of remote sensing and GIS. Land-use policy can be interpreted within GIS using a modelling approach which will include all the aspects from map rectification to implementation.

Plans should be forward-thinking according to geospacial analyst, GIS and RS techniques provide very useful analysis and visualization tools. Various problems faced by urban managers and policy makers are associated with urbanization, model making can solve them and gives a better understanding for the future predictions. To meet these challenges reliable and authentic data is required. We have many open source satellite data available online which can be accessed and downloaded as per the need.GPS and RS are sources of input data for a GIS software. GIS is used for storing and manipulating GPS and RS data.

Urban planner needs a map with a database behind it and gives a virtual representation of the real world and its infrastructure.

Collection of data, correlating it and then analyzing it is the basic of urban planning and to implement, it must me beautified with designing, preparing models and then comes the implementation.

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